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Terps go down for the count against Tech

October 21, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It started out as a showdown for national visibility for the University of Maryland football team.

It ended up as a countdown to disappointment.

If the Terrapins proved anything, it's that they can't be considered a charity case. Maryland's defense did everything it could to keep the Terps in Thursday night's nationally televised game with No. 3 Virginia Tech, but the offense refused to take handouts in a 28-9 loss before the second largest crowd in Byrd Stadium history.

"The story of the game was that we had opportunities and didn't take advantage of them," Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said.

And the countdown started from there.

Maryland had trouble containing Virginia Tech's No. 5, quarterback Marcus Vick, who ran wild for 344 yards of offense - including 133 yards rushing - and a touchdown.

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More telling was Maryland's inability to cash in on four turnovers. Three interceptions in the third quarter resulted in two missed field goals and minus-1 yard of offense on the third.

The Terps were down for the count.

"We got the ball turned over in the middle of the field and didn't get any points," Friedgen lamented. "The defense did its job. Anytime you play a team of that caliber, get those kinds of opportunities and not score any points, you're not going to beat a team of that caliber."

Virginia Tech played sloppy at times, but were able to rally behind Vick, who bailed the Hokies out in many tight situations. His ability to show patience under pressure to go with his breakaway speed, left Maryland in a holding pattern.

"The major difference between us is they have more speed than we do," Friedgen said. "They put the ball in Vick's hands and he can run. He doesn't need a lot of room for acceleration. For three quarters, they put the ball in Vick's hands and he did a good job."

But Vick threw all three of his interceptions in the third quarter in a time when Maryland only trailed 14-3. Dan Ennis missed on kicks of 38 and 47 yards followed by an interception that put the Terps on their own 47 before kicking three plays later from the 46.

"I think it's a credit to our defense to be able to stop them after turnovers on our side of the 50-yard line," said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.

Virginia Tech withstood the storm and wore the Terps out with a running game that amassed 286 of the Hokies' 497 yards of offense.

For Maryland, it was a bad start to the critical final half of the season.

The Terps, now 4-3 overall, needed to win two of their final five games to become bowl eligible. After letting the Hokies get away, Maryland must find those two wins against Florida State, North Carolina and North Carolina State on the road and Boston College at home.

The task became that much more difficult since Maryland was unable to stop the countdown to destruction against Virginia Tech.

"The offense has to put the ball in the end zone when they get those opportunities," Friedgen said. "We missed two field goals and that's six points. But we need to score touchdowns with that kind of field position."

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